colorful drawings of a crowd of people at a concert

If It Ain't Cheap, It Ain't Punk: D. un I. t Y.

by Eric Ayotte Author, Joe Biel Author and Jeremy Hogan Author

Over the last fifteen years, Plan-it X Records helped foster a huge cultural revolution, uniting geographically divided DIY punk communities under one umbrella. With a united ethic and common goals, this scene has grown to a critical mass, with some bands flirting with mainstream success, while others choose to remain firmly rooted in the basement punk scene. This original documentary climaxes in the 2006 Festival where punks from all over the world met up in Bloomington, IN for a week of music and skillsharing. Original footage of This Bike is a Pipe Bomb, Japanther, Defiance, Ohio, Ghost Mice, One Reason, Operation: Cliff Clavin, Soophie Nun Squad, and more! From each DVD sold, we will give $1 each to Mother Hubbard's Cupboard and Pages to Prisoners!

Comments & Reviews


A sweet, well put together documentary film that captures the spirit and feel of the do-it-yourself, underground punk scene that has grown up around Plan-it X Records in Bloomington, Indiana. It showcases the relaxed, friendly atmosphere created by the bands and fans and their commitment to the politics of do-it-yourself economies, punk community, and radical activism. It is clear that the filmmakers are a part of the scene and close to many of their interviewees. They capture the scrappy aesthetic of patched shorts, wild hair and silk-screened t-shirts and the sense of playfulness that infuses the scene through kickball games and quarry swimming, as well as participants’ dedication to freely exchanging skills, ideas, and resources.


As something that represents Plan-It-X Records, this has the lot: the bands, the ethos, the politics, the sense of community, the fun. No matter your favoured Punk subculture, this is well worth checking out for anyone who has a love and a grounding in DIY Punk values.


"If It Ain’t Cheap, It Ain’t Punk is a sweet, well put together documentary film that captures the spirit and feel of the do-it-yourself, underground punk scene that has grown up around Plan-it X Records in Bloomington, Indiana."


Do you remember the ending of the film AMERICAN HARDCORE,? Where Zander Schloss said in regards to hardcore and punk “it was over a long time ago, go home”? He couldn't have been more wrong, and we all know this. The docu-film IF IT AIN'T CHEAP, IT AIN'T PUNK completely re-enforces the fact how alive and well our D.I.Y. community really is. One interviewee states “the reason to be a punk band rather than a corporate rock band, is because of the community you benefit from” I feel this speaks a lot of truth that we all can relate to. This film is not only informational, but it's somewhat heartwarming as well and really gives a sense of camaraderie.


"The best thing I learned from this documentary (which is about the friendly side of the d.i.y. punk scene in general and plan-it-x records in Bloomington in particular) is that the main problem with the 80s American hardcore scene that carved out the d.i.y. punk touring circuit is not that they were violent or aggressive but that you couldn't understand the words. So the revolution of melodic bands like Fifteen is not about punk needing to get woosier but that you can make more friends and get your message across better if you enunciate. While the organizing and fellowship and love in this scene is feels pretty awesome in this flick, I think the best part of this scene is the embrace of old time instruments. Mandolins and violins are as punk as they wanna be! And their love of Japanther, the only band in this doc that I really actually like musically, makes me have even more respect for the Bloomintonians."


"...after discussing the history of the label, the documentary sways into the first plan-it-x fest and shows how that led to the first tour-fest. the documentary ends with the plan-it-x fest 2006 in bloomington, indiana. it talks about the labels gain in popularity with bands like against me! and kimya dawson gaining mainstream success. the film offers live clips of defiance, ohio, this bike is a pipe bomb, one reason among other bands, making the documentary pretty awesome for fans of any of those bands. bonus features include extended interviews, my favorite of which focused on the history of abe froman. this is a pretty awesome film that is definitely worth watching."


"This 480x640 pixel documentary focuses more on the people than the music, and it's great to see all this love and openness and sharing, with the music almost an afterthought. The action revolves around the 2006 Plan-It X fest in Bloomington Indiana and it's a smaller, friendlier version of Burning Man or even a Fringe festival. The golden spirit hovering over the scene is Chris Claven, founder of Plan-it X Records. He's a middle-aged guy with a slicked-down combover Mohawk, and he makes his modest living off of the meager sales of these obscure bands. Their followers are dedicated to the music and ideals -- strangers help each other get to gigs, and words like aesthetic, community, and infrastructure pepper their commentary."


hell yeah !